“Oracle Cloud EPM helps solve a difficulty our department has been facing in our-day-to-day work. The cloud is saving us a lot of time and providing a lot of agility to the budgeting work and business planning. The feedback from the business users is great, which proves how useful the solution is.”
Mohamed Fathy, Chief Information Officer, EFG Hermes Holding
With a current footprint spanning 13 countries across four continents, EFG Hermes Holding started in Egypt 37 years ago. It has grown to become a universal bank in Egypt with a leading investment banking franchise in Frontier and Emerging Markets (FEM). Drawing on its proven track record and diverse team of talented employees, the firm provides a wide spectrum of financial services that include advisory, asset management, securities brokerage, research, and private equity to the entire Middle East and North Africa regions.
In 2015, EFG Hermes Holding launched its Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) Platform, which oversees activities in the non-banking finance field covering microfinance, leasing, factoring, Buy-Now Pay-Later (BNPL), mortgages, and insurance. This falls in line with the company’s strategy to focus on two main pillars: product diversification and geographic expansion. The organization has a physical presence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, the UK, and US. In 2021, EFG Hermes Holding acquired a controlling stake in aiBANK, allowing it to transform into a universal bank in Egypt.
This wide expansion created promising growth opportunities but also added complexity to the planning and budgeting processes. The company had previously managed this planning using traditional methods.
The annual budgeting cycle took more than three months and consumed time from the majority of the company’s employees. The IT department spent about 25% of its time during the year on this process, which became an all-consuming task, especially during the planning peak. This time crunch severely hindered the IT team’s ability to drive innovation and improve operations and business processes.
All this effort still didn’t reflect the accuracy, visibility, and speed that EFG Hermes needed for planning and decision-making. “We required a better reporting method, moreover, financial information wasn’t accessible everywhere. As a result, we had a long time-to-market for new products,” says Mohamed Fathy, chief information officer for EFG Hermes Holding.
Why EFG Hermes Holding chose Oracle
The firm involved project and product managers, product owners, and business managers in an uncompromising selection process that shortlisted four providers. The key selection criteria included flexibility, agility, and the ability to consolidate the company’s complex budgeting and planning data. Oracle ranked highest on the company’s scorecard, which included technical and financial components. EFG Hermes was also impressed by the speed of implementation made possible with Oracle Cloud EPM.
“We took our time to be sure that we were selecting the right vendor that could achieve EFG Hermes Holding’s ambitions and scale with us,” Fathy adds. “Technically and financially, Oracle was our best choice, and implemented our business needs in a timely manner.”
By adopting Oracle Cloud EPM, EFG Hermes Holding shortened its budget cycle time by more than 67%—from more than three months to fewer than four weeks—and reduced the staff resources required by 80%. The IT department, in particular, no longer needs to spend three full months of every year making manual spreadsheet calculations to consolidate operations data and assist with the budgeting process. Instead, employees can focus on innovation, maintaining and improving operations, and enhancing business processes. EFG Hermes Holding implemented Oracle EPM Cloud in just over two weeks.
Using Oracle Cloud EPM’s reporting capabilities and smart view features, end users in finance and other departments can easily run their own reports with a single click, and view data dynamically on intuitive dashboards. Previously, the company’s accountants had to engage IT staff, who would burn the midnight oil for days to compile end-of-month reports, which ultimately did not include sufficient insights.
“With Oracle EPM, our accountants can see their figures after each monthly closing. This offers us huge opportunities,” Fathy says. EFG Hermes Holding’s senior managers can make tactical decisions faster, thanks to Oracle Cloud EPM. Directors can implement strategic decisions more rapidly, such as introducing new financial products to different markets where EFG Hermes Holding operates, because they no longer need to wait for days or weeks to get their budgeting reports ready.
The company’s budgeting accuracy has also greatly improved because Oracle Cloud EPM provides an accurate baseline from the previous year’s budget. Managers can compare planned spend to actual spend with a click of a button. “Now we have better visibility of what we were planning for this year, and how much we have spent, which gives us more accurate numbers when it comes to forecasting the budget for next year,” Fathy says. Oracle Cloud EPM provides depth of insight into different types of spending or budget projections, such as capital and operating expenses.
Because EFG Hermes Holding has many subsidiaries, having a unified platform with a single view has been particularly beneficial, as the IT department no longer needs to consolidate data manually from various sources using time-consuming methods to produce company-wide financial information.
Employees can access Oracle Cloud EPM easily from home, which was a boon to the company’s productivity, as more than 90% of staff have worked from home due to the pandemic. Oracle Cloud EPM is easy to use, so employees could rapidly adopt the solution.
“You don’t need to have very comprehensive training for accountants to use the application, and this was the key feature of the project’s success,” Fathy says. And if the company has high computing demand for a week or month, Oracle Cloud scales to meet that need, unlike on-premises infrastructure that would require additional capital investment.
Oracle Partner Inplenion worked alongside the Oracle team to ensure the project’s success. “Inplenion is a very knowledgeable partner who understands both Oracle Cloud EPM and the financial industry extremely well,” Fathy says. The implementation speed was a large part of the project’s success.